On Nov. 16th, UO PRSSA ventured to Portland, Ore. to tour the local offices of Edelman Portland and Liaison PR. The city of Portland is home to several well-known PR agencies – Edelman, Liaison, and Waggener Edstrom included. The day was full of insightful information and inspiration, helping to establish a clear idea of the life of a PR professional after graduation.
The day began with a tour and information session with Edelman Portland, one of many company offices throughout the world. Edelman Portland is home to approximately 50 employees and overlooks Pioneer Courthouse Square from the 8th floor of a spacious, modern office. Members discussed life at a PR agency with five current professionals of the Edelman team, followed by an office tour and look into daily life there.
After, UO PRSSA visited Liaison PR in the Portland Pearl District for a tour of their urban office. Liaison is home to a small staff and a specialized focus on technology and consumer PR. An informational session with Liaison’s talented team offered insight to working in a niche agency. Part of the presentation included hearing from Liaison’s founder Heidi Lowell, who was visiting the office from her home in London.
So why should you consider touring a local PR agency before graduation?
UO PRSSA would like to thank Edelman Portland and Liaison PR for the insightful, inspiring day of tours! Our Chapter plans multiple PR agency tour opportunities each year. Stay tuned for more information on the trips planned for winter and spring 2013 at upcoming Chapter meetings. Have you ever toured a local PR agency? What was your favorite part of the experience?
UO PRSSA and Greenhill Humane Society teamed up on Thursday, Oct. 25 to host Rent-a-Pooch on the Memorial Quad lawn. Rent-a-Pooch allows University of Oregon students to play with dogs while raising funds for UO PRSSA and Greenhill Humane Society, a Eugene animal shelter that saves the lives of more than 2,000 animals each year. The event also helps Greenhill promote animal adoption and volunteerism.
Eight playful pooches from the Greenhill were rented out to more than 100 students for increments of 15 or 30 minutes. Equipped with leashes, chew toys, doggie treats, and blankets, the students were able to walk and play with their new friend during the allotted time.
Along with raising funds for UO PRSSA, the event helped Greenhill Humane Society with their outreach efforts. According to Denise Brittain, Community Outreach Manager of Greenhill Humane Society, Rent-a-Pooch profoundly effects adoption and volunteer rates. “Students realize how much they miss their dogs at home,” said Brittain.
Through the outing, representatives of Greenhill are able to “tell the adopter how [the dogs] behave outside the kennel” and “see how they react toward all types of different people,” explained another member of the Greenhill outreach team.
With a full day of playful pups and eager students, Rent-a-Pooch was a successful (and fun) event that raised more than $400 to support the Greenhill Humane Society.
Ali AAsum started her career in public relations at a full-service marketing agency in Portland where she helped lead public relations campaigns, event execution, celebrity seeding, and social media strategies for companies both large and small. She worked on accounts like Cirque du Soleil; Feld Entertainment, Inc.; Taco del Mar; BridgePort Brewing Company; Oregon Association of Nurseries; The Portland Clinic; Mountain House; Simple Shoes; Deep Silver and others. In 2009, Ali’s team was deemed a 2010 PR Week Finalist for its Free Tacos on Tax Day campaign for Taco del Mar in two nominated categories.
Possessing strong relationships with local and national media, Ali has worked with and garnered coverage in outlets like Men’s Journal, People, OK!, Surfing, ReadyMade, YRB Magazine, Outside Magazine, Perez.com, Wired.com, CNN, CNN Money.com, Portland Monthly, The Oregonian, 1859 Magazine, MIX Magazine, and NW Palate among others.
Ali earned her bachelor’s degree in 2009 from the University of Oregon, School of Journalism and Communication, with an emphasis in public relations. Prior to graduation, she held numerous internships including The Ulum Group, City of Eugene Adaptive Recreation Services, and MR Magazine, as an editorial intern in New York.
Ali now works as an account executive at bell+funk in Eugene, Ore., where she started in May 2012.
Biography provided by Ali AAsum and Bell+Funk PR Agency of Eugene, OR. Ali visited the UO PRSSA chapter as a guest speaker on November 7, 2012. A big thank you to Ali and Bell+Funk for their ongoing support!
Each year the PRSSA National Conference offers the opportunity to network with professionals from a variety of industries, giving members a better perspective of how to excel in today’s competitive work environment.
Overall, the goals of the conference is to help students develop the knowledge of public relations and to prepare passionate public relations practitioners for the competitive field. Many different lectures are offered throughout conference to cater to personal interests and goals of each person.
On Sunday, October 14, I had the opportunity to engage in a presentation given by Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, at the 2012 PRSSA National Conference.
An interesting concept that Stone emphasized throughout his presentation was that any one can be successful in humanity efforts with the help of technology. After listening to him speak, I took away seven main points that can be applicable to the public relations field.
Over the years many students have raised questions about the true benefits of becoming a PRSSA member. This question arises because students can still participate in PRSSA activities and events, even if they aren’t due-paying members. However, there are a multitude of benefits from becoming members that can help students with professional development. According to PRSSA National there are three major benefits for becoming members:
Changes we are making this year:
There are certain changes that we are making this year that give PRSSA members more benefits. We are planning on taking agency tours to Portland and possibly Seattle this year and we are only allowing members to take these trips. Agency tours are a great way for members to see the professional environment, network and talk to professionals in our industry.
There are numerous benefits that come from becoming PRSSA members. It not only gives students more opportunities for professional growth and development within public relations, but also gives them the opportunity to gain more professional experience.
Helping students receive jobs:
Many professionals say that nowadays having the words “PRSSA membership” on a resume makes a big difference. It shows that students can commit to a club that is related to their industry. It also shows that students are making a greater effort outside of internship opportunities and classes to gain more professional experience and network.
To all members, supporters and followers of UO PRSSA, welcome back! I am excited to serve as president in the upcoming year and have big goals for our growing Chapter. The executive board has been hard at work over the summer planning some fantastic professional development opportunities, of which I hope you will take full advantage. Below I’ve listed some ways you can hone your PR skills as well as get further involved in PRSSA.
Join a committee
This year we will be accepting applications for four different committees: Events Committee, Membership Committee, External Relations Committee and NODAC Committee. Joining a committee is a great way to get involved because you will get to know other PRSSA members, while gaining experience in an area of communications that you are interested in. Go to our website for more information on each committee.
Participate in Intern-for-a-Day
UO PRSSA’s main focus this year is to provide you with professional development opportunities. Intern for a Day, a UO PRSSA fundraiser, is just the chance to get involved with local Eugene organizations and public relations professionals. Here is how it will work: UO PRSSA will select a pool of qualified student members to be auctioned as interns in silent auction style. Local organization’s will then bid on a student that would be a good fit for their public relations needs.
Once you have been matched with an organization, you will work on a public relations task that requires approximately eight hours of work. This is an opportunity to design a brochure, staff an event, research a client, draft tweets, and make vital connections within the community. Although we have not set a date for the event yet, we are working to make it happen at the end of fall term. Look forward to more details about Intern for a Day on the UO PRSSA blog and contact me for if you need more information.
Get involved in a national PRSSA competition
PRSSA Chapters across the nation compete each year in national PRSSA competitions such as Bateman, Contiki and NODAC. This year, UO PRSSA will be participating in the National Organ Donor Awareness Competition, also known as NODAC, during which you will create a public relations campaign to promote awareness and knowledge of organ donation among college students.
We will be accepting applications for participation on the NODAC Committee just like we will for the other committees. However, if you become part of the NODAC Committee the real work will begin winter term because the public relations campaign must be completed and submitted for the competition by May 2013. For more information on NODAC visit our website.
These are a small sampling of opportunities UO PRSSA is offering this year. Our ultimate goal is to serve you, the aspiring PR professional and help you gain a better understanding of the industry and your place within it. I encourage you to bookmark our website, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and keep an eye out for our announcements on campus.
Successful involvement in PRSSA is much like the old adage, “you get out of life what you put in.” If you want to get all that PRSSA has to offer it is up to you to attend events, meetings, workshops and otherwise be an active member! I hope to see you all at our first general interest Chapter meeting that will be held on Wednesday, October 3 at 7 p.m. in Peterson 103!
Are you interested in becoming a guest blogger for the University of Oregon PRSSA chapter this term? We are looking for posts and articles on all things college, public relations, networking, social media and blogging, and more! Share your best stories, tips, interviews, and advice! Why should you consider becoming a guest blogger this school year? Let us tell you…
The ideal post is 300-500 words in length, free of spelling and grammar errors, and is of course, your own original work. Each post should include an applicable image or photograph. Articles and posts might be edited to best suit the UO PRSSA blog. Submit your post in Word Document or PDF format to PRSSA Public Relations Director/Blog Editor Callie Gisler at email@example.com!
Looking for other publishing opportunities this term? The national PRSSA organization offers several chances to publish your work. The PRSSA National blog Progressions tackles a range of PR, PRSSA, and professional topics, all written by fellow PRSSA members. Click here to learn more about submitting a blog post to Progressions. PRSSA National also produces FORUM, the official PRSSA newspaper, which is published three times a year. Click here to learn more about submitting a written piece to FORUM.
Questions or comments? An idea for an upcoming UO PRSSA blog post? Contact Callie Gisler at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!
In every class we are in, it seems we are always hearing about how awful the job market is and how bad the economy is. While this is certainly the case, there are a lot of jobs out there and if you are prepared and motivated, you can and will get a job.
8 Best practices for getting a job in today’s market:
1. Be proactive – Put yourself out there online and elsewhere that you are job hunting and make a plan for how you are going to search for a job, where you are going to search for a job and how long you should spend searching for jobs. Tweet companies, visit their Facebook pages, stalk their website and know all about the companies you are looking at.
2. Do informational interviews – As you call companies and research companies, set up informational interviews with companies and firms. This will show you are proactive, you are interested and you are invested. Before the interview, make sure you have questions prepared that are not necessarily covered on the website, but ask them about their schedule, about their clients and more.
3. Do your research – Before you ever set up an interview, pick up a phone, send an email, etc., make sure you do your research on the company. You never want to be unprepared for a question about the company or their clients you should be able to answer, but are not able to answer because you did not look beforehand.
4. Monitor and clean up your online sites – I think this is one of the most important. We are constantly told to clean up our Twitter, Facebook, blog and more…. and we absolutely should. All it could take is one bad tweet, one bad photo or any little thing for a company to toss your resume and for the opportunity you could have had to slip away. Clean it up!
5. Be open – When you start the job hunt, you might have a specific job or ideal placement in mind, but things do not always work like that. You have to have an open mind when searching for a job. Be open to a new city or a new responsibility and it could really help you.
6. Use your connections – While you have been networking online and conferences [or you should have been], make sure you use those contacts you made. Reach out to them for job leads and for possible recommendations. Knowing someone can take you a long way. My professor told me that 60-80% of available jobs are not actually posted online. This means those available jobs are going to people the company knows or they are going to someone people in the company know.
7. Do not give up – While job hunting can seem like a job itself, do not give up and do not settle. While a $70,000/year job may seem very enticing, make sure it is really want you want to do for at least 1-3 years before you accept it just because of the money. Even if you do not get a lead for a few weeks or a few months, do not give up! Keep looking. If you do not find a job, try doing another internship if you can. Internships can often lead to jobs later.
8. Put your materials online – While you are job searching, put some of your materials from your portfolio online. Build your online resume and portfolio so when people and companies search for you, they find what you can do and what you could be capable of.
I wish everyone the best of luck with your job hunt as we go into the spring semester! Please feel free to contact me if you have any job hunt questions or general PRSSA questions.
Lauren K. Gray currently serves as the PRSSA 2011-2012 Vice President of Public Relations and is an active Chapter member after serving as Chapter President for almost two years. Tweet her @laurenkgray and visit her website laurenkgray.com for more information and blog posts.
Q & A with Kris Koivisto, Corporate Communications Coordinator for the Portland Trailblazers
1. What is a day in sports communication, especially as a part of the
As with many jobs in a fast-paced environment, no two days are exactly the same. They may involve the same duties, but rarely in the same order. Different days have different priorities. We have four employees dedicated solely to PR. Within our department, we have Sports Communications and Corporate Communications, with one person dedicated solely to Sports and one to Corporate. There are also two people that split time on both sides – although we all help each other out and fill in for each other on a regular basis. Below, I’ve listed the primary duties our department handles (which can also be found on my LinkedIn profile).
Writing news releases and media advisories
Fielding, scheduling and facilitating interview and photo requests
Pitching stories to the media
Building and maintaining relationships with local, national and online media
Working cross-departmentally to help carry out marketing and communications initiatives
Monitoring media coverage and fan feedback
Writing wrap-up reports of the coverage we’ve received for specified events
Writing speaking points on a wide range of topics
Conducting media training
Writing blogs and taking photos at events
Editing and proof-reading content
Producing the content and layout for each ‘Rip City’ program
Producing a 300-page media guide each offseason
Preparing press credentials, seating charts, statistics, packets, postgame passes on games days
Preparing game information and seating arrangements for visiting teams’ PR staff, broadcast affiliates and traveling media
Handling the internal communications within the company, including the management of our intranet site and staff meetings
2. How did you get into it? Anything that specifically led you there
I personally got my foot in the door during the spring semester of my junior year of college, interning in Interactive Marketing from home (school). My job was basically to create a viral buzz on the team’s MySpace page (that ages myself) and social network, iamatrailblazersfan.com.
Following that internship I applied for the summer intern position with the Sports Communications department. I was lucky enough to get a good referral from my previous manager, and was the Sports Communications intern the summer we won the NBA Draft Lottery (one of the best experiences of my life). I built a good relationship with my boss, and stayed on as the season-long intern during the 2007-08 season. By good fortune, a full-time position opened up within the department near the end of the season. I went through an extensive interview process and eventually got the job. The rest is history.
3. Is there anything you wish you would’ve learned in college that you
I would say pitching stories, setting up formal interviews and ghost-writing quotes.
4. Any advice on getting into the world of sports communication?
Interning, definitely. Volunteering, too. Setting up informational interviews always helps to put a name to a face when the application process comes along. Making connections in the industry and building your own brand are also very key.
5. The most needed skill in your job and why
If I had to choose one, I’d say intuition. You need to rely on your gut instinct a lot of times when your boss isn’t around. It’s important that you can make the right decision on the fly – especially in conversations with the media. Every decision you make has to be in the best interests of the company.
6. Are there any positions open with the Trailblazers at the moment or
in the near future?
Unfortunately there are not currently any PR positions open with the Trail Blazers. We do hire 2-3 interns each fiscal year. All of our job openings on our website: http://blazers.teamworkonline.com/teamwork/jobs/default.cfm
If you have any follow-up questions for Kris, you can ask him via email or twitter:
email@example.com or Twitter (@KrisKoivisto)